It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Activists and human rights groups in Syria contend the government has now killed hundreds of civilians this week alone. It's hard to verify that number, but it is clear that mortars, rockets and tanks continue firing into the city of Homs. That gunfire has served as a week-long punctuation mark on the United Nation's failure to approve a resolution against Syria. NPR's Kelly McEvers is following the situation from Beirut. She joins us once again.
NPR's business news starts with social networking profits.
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INSKEEP: You can get attention on the Internet. You can even draw a massive crowd in seconds. The question always is how to make money. Investors have been scrutinizing Facebook's plans to go public and trying to figure out the company's prospects.
To people who visit the idyllic tourist destination of the Maldives, politics can seem far away. But this week, the country's President Mohamed Nasheed stepped down after weeks of demonstrations. He was forced to resign by elements within the police and army. Here's how he described the situation to Al Jazeera.
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PRESIDENT MOHAMED NASHEED: This is a coup. It definitely is, if you find any definition of a coup anywhere. I did not want to defend. That is why there was no blood.
The conflict between the Catholic Bishops and the White House over contraceptive coverage has American Catholics choosing sides.
Catholics narrowly support the White House position in polls. There are potential political consequences: In presidential elections, Catholics are swing voters. They supported Al Gore in 2000, President George W. Bush in '04 and President Obama in '08.
The GOP presidential hopefuls are certainly using this issue. Framing it as a question of religious freedom is a guaranteed way to fire up the conservative base.
Steam rises from the cooling towers of nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Ga. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved Southern Co.'s application to begin full construction of the nation's first new nuclear units since 1978 at Plant Vogtle.
The nuclear industry is celebrating the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's decision to give the go-ahead for a utility company to build two new nuclear reactors in Georgia, the first license to be granted for a new reactor in the U.S. since 1978. But last year's accident at reactors in Fukushima, Japan, still clouds the future of nuclear power, as does the cost of new power plants.
Southern Co. will build the reactors at its Vogtle site in Georgia, where two older reactors already operate.
In 2002, state lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. One of the groups pushing for the law was the Coalition for Choice, led by Melissa Kogut (center).
Gene Gregory (left), head of the United Egg Producers lobby, and Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, visit Washington to lobby Congress for a law requiring larger cages for egg-laying chickens.
If George Lucas had never created that annoying, slapstick-prone CGI character in The Phantom Menace, history would be different. No amount of "meesa so sorry" can make up for this abomination. And to add insult to injury, Lucas is sending a 3D Jar Jar Binks into theaters on February 10th.